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Pete Sampras - the American Sensation

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Pete Sampras the American Sensation

The reason why I chose to do my research paper on Pete Sampras is because I love to play tennis, and Pete is the greatest tennis player alive. I have always made him my role model, and I hope to one day meet him. I try and model my tennis game after his and it has really helped my tennis game. Pete Sampras is my childhood hero, and that is the reason why I chose the topic of Pete Sampras.

Pete was born on August 12, 1971. in Washington, DC. Although Pete was born in Washington, he grew up in Palos Verdes, California. Pete is a direct descendent of Sam and Georgia Sampras. Pete has three Siblings one elder and two younger. The elder sibling is Stella, the current head tennis coach at UCLA. Pete's younger sister Marion has not decided on a career yet, and Pete's third sibling is his only brother, Gus who is the Current Assistant Tournament Director at Scottsdale ATP Tour Event (Role Models).

Pete began playing tennis at the age of seven, and when he was nine, his father asked Pete Fischer, a physician and amateur player, to hit with his son. Fischer was so impressed with Pete's ability, he became Pete's personal coach. When Pete was eleven, he had the opportunity to hit with his childhood hero Rod Laver. Pete later told his coach that he was so nervous he couldn't get the ball over the net.

Pete rarely won a major junior tournament. Fischer believed that someone of his talent should play up in age groups against older and stronger players to develop his all around game. When Pete reached the age of 14, Fischer changed Pete's two-handed backhand to a one-handed. At the same time of his backhand switch Fischer switched Pete from a safe defensive baseliner to a risky serve and volleyer. The reason he did this was to try and make Pete feel much more laid back and in the end it worked. Pete turned pro at the age of 16 following his junior year in high-school. By the late 1980's, Pete split with his coach Pete Fischer because Pete felt that Fischer was an overbearing perfectionist. After the split with Fischer, Pete picked up a new coach, Tim Gullikson. Tim Gullikson showed Pete the value of playing percentage tennis--going for smart, conservative shots rather than flashy, difficult ones. On May 3, 1996, Gullikson, 44, died of brain cancer. Pete lost in the first three majors that year, but retained the U.S. open title (Role Models).

Without his coach Tim Gullikson, Pete went to many different people to try and finally perfect and put the finishing touches on his game. For his winning forehand, he was sent to the dean of tennis coaches, Robert Lansdrop. To develop his footwork he went to Del Little. For his outstanding volley he went to Larry Easley who was the coach at Nevada University. Pete serve was learned for little's starting stance, called the chong. To do this stance you must place your heels so the heels face each other and the toes form an angle as wide as 90 degrees. With this starting stance you can get power by rotating and using your hips rather than your legs or even your shoulders. The trick is to translate your hips into the hit. It is that unique starting position that helped Pete develop one of the tour's most effective deliveries and transform himself for a baselining junior to a worldclass serve and volleyer with five Wimbledon titles to his credits (Price, S.L.).

The evolution of Pete's serve reflects the way his game was built, element by element. His dad, Sam Sampras oversaw the construction; Pete Fischer was the general contractor; and Little, Lansdrop, and Easley were the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians (Pete Sampras)

In my opinion Pete Sampras will not be winning to many more Grand Slams if any. He is getting older and it will be tough for him to play with the young up and comers of the sport of tennis. Although Pete may not be the reigning champion this year, he will always be a champion in my mind.

Here are his stats for 2001:

Australian Open, Australia

Grand Slam, 1/15/01, O, Hard , Draw: 128

R128 Kucera, Karol (SVK ) 0 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4 7-6(3)




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